What’s the benefit of working with a travel advisor? Remember back in the ‘90s when Bill Gates supposedly declared that travel agents were unnecessary when he was promoting his new booking engine Expedia? Or when Jimmy Fallon made the joke that travel agents were dinosaurs? Those things are true, just not in the way you think they are. The travel agent, that plane ticket printer, rental car arranger, order taker is gone- both in fashion, and in attrition.
The travel agent IS dead; any flight to and 3 star hotel with a rental car in Florida is easily bookable online.
That is not luxury travel; there is nothing particularly difficult or customized in the experience. But in the place of the agent is the Travel Advisor, an expert in the field of all things travel related. She or he helps you to plan everything from the events you want to celebrate to a passion you want to explore, and every conceivable reason to travel in between.
What Do Travel Advisors Do?
They are not competing with the online travel agencies like Expedia, hotel booking search engines or the like. Those have exhibited spotty records, and given very little follow up support.
But Travel Advisors do just that: advise and support.
They stay up-to-date with the top travel destinations. They know what to do when, where and how when traveling. They tailor their advice to you specifically to create unique trips no one else has. Based on the statistics now, more people are seeking the personalization only a live contact with a real human being with real knowledge can offer. Couple that with actual support before, during and after your journey, and you have a better recipe for vacation success than hours online hoping for the best.
Luxury travel is personalized travel that meets all the details and requirements you need to make a journey perfect and memorable. Click To Tweet
There are many reasons why you might consider working with a Travel Advisor you trust with your hopes and dreams in your corner.
Here are our Top 7:
A good Travel Advisor has studied (a lot), traveled extensively, continually monitors the industry, and studies and travel some more.
Dinosaurs are stuck in the past. The Travel Advisor is always looking to what is happening next in the world of travel, and where. A Travel Advisor can be a generalist or have a niche area of expertise. The good Travel Advisor has built a network of others who are also specialists in their areas of expertise.
- I have talked with many travelers and those who hoped to soon achieve their travel dreams.
- I listened to their experiences from their travels (especially those things that did not go as hoped), their fears (like in selecting the right hotel, sight unseen), and weariness of researching to find something that would match their dream.
- Based upon those stories, I have come up with a list of reasons to let go and let an expert consult and collaborate with you on your next luxury vacation.
#1 You are not a travel expert.
- Because of training and first-hand experience, as well as taking the time to get to know you, a good Travel Advisor works as your consultant on your desired destination offering you things you might not have considered that would personalize and therefore enhance and elevate your travels.
- A good Travel Advisor has studied intensively and continually updates education while monitoring the travel industry.
- A good travel advisor travels and makes the relationships necessary to be able to open hidden doors for clients.
#2 You want to get it right.
For a complicated trip, there are a lot of details to cover. A dropped ball is a marred vacation.
Say your trip is complicated with multiple destinations or you are coordinating itineraries with friends; there are a lot of puzzle pieces to match.
Don’t forget about all the time and effort it takes, and the fact that someone has to be in charge of it all (even while on vacation).
Or when everything must be right for your family vacation in Europe with the grandkids, an adventure vacation for a couple, or a special occasion like a milestone birthday or anniversary- you just want to enjoy the time with loved ones, not be cleaning up travel glitches.
High-stakes trips like multigenerational adventures or a family vacation to Australia or New Zealand are too precious to be handled any other way than professionally.
And, remember – a good travel advisor is there throughout your trip to smooth any rough spots on your behalf (and can even provide in-country host/concierge to further support your trip).
#3 You hate wasting time.
On average, it takes between 100 and 400 touchpoints in an internet search for travel before a consumer makes a purchase.
Once the land or sea travel is arranged, now you get to wait on the phone with your airline for someone to help you with the right plane tickets (an average of about 15 minutes with major airlines), or even more time on the internet searching for an itinerary that matches your plans.
And when it doesn’t, back you go to adjusting the land or sea plans.
And in cases of major storms (causing major delays and cancellations) trying to fix your trip before or during travel by trying to get through to a contact center or spending hours on a line creates anxiety and detracts from the overall experience the trip was supposed to be about.
#4 You want connections.
Yes, even in the world of online booking and search engines, there are exclusive benefits you are missing by not working with the right Travel Advisor.
Many of these can save you money and/or supercharge your vacation. Those who are joined together in a consortium like Virtuoso, one of the largest networks, have superior leverage to negotiate with hotels and experience suppliers to secure special pricing and value added amenities. These could include upgrades at hotels, the most desired rooms, breakfasts and spa or other food and beverage credits.
As a client, you are also treated like a V.I.P. because no one likes to be treated like just another number.
#5 You want to maximize your experience.
The connections necessary to take a vacation from a trip to a journey requires getting behind product offered on the internet to the core of the destination.
Special experiences without the crowds, exclusive access, custom tailored stays and activities- these are not in the reach of the average consumer.
A good Travel Advisor opens those hidden doors because of the time and effort spent gathering information in the destination and garnering the relationships that allow for the most immersive experiences and specialized treatment.
There is a difference between going to a museum with a guidebook or audioguide with other tourists and getting a tour with an art historian in the off-hours. There are more memories to be made on a private Costa Rica family adventure vacation than on a group tour.
#6 You want the ultimate luxury.
So let’s talk about personalization – the ultimate luxury.
What takes a trip from ordinary to extraordinary?
A personal experience just cannot be Googled. It can’t be crowd-sourced or matched to another’s rave review or recommendation.
Finding the best luxury travel agency is the key to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. But, more than that, a good Travel Advisor with deep connections and reputation can arrange for those needs and special touches a client desires:
- Special meetings with dignitaries, artists, sports heroes, performers.
- Surprise picnics on mountaintops.
- Stays in hotels sold out online during peak season.
In one case I arranged a Christmas tree and all personalized presents to be delivered on an African safari – complete with animal decorations on the tree as keepsakes.
A custom-designed trip with bespoke experiences creates happy memories of a lifetime.
#7 You want support with a real person in real time.
You know the value of the trusted experts in your life who help to manage its most important aspects – your tax and finances experts, medical professionals, legal advisors, personal assistants and trainers. Your team supports you by managing various aspects of life that make the whole run very well.
Now extend that concept into your travel plans.
A travel professional can be that member of your team that eases the planning and preparation process AND supports you while you travel until you reach your front doorstep once again.
Whether you need adjustments to the planned schedule on the fly, more concierge services while abroad, flight arrangements and rearrangements if things go wrong, help if your passport goes missing or a grandchild falls ill, all those eventualities that come our way while traveling can be handled by your Travel Advisor.
The bottom line is, the Travel Advisor is just as mobile as you are, thanks to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, or locally, your travel agent is as nearby as you want him or her to be.
We are an agile bunch that are not tethered to a computer or desk, constantly, and we are accessible to our clients 24/7 while they travel.
As your #GlobalLocal, it is my pleasure to share the wealth of experience and global connections I have from continually traveling to many parts of the world, and through my association with Virtuoso, the leader in Luxury Travel.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel in 2018 by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.